That's the title of this interesting article from The New York Times about how women get involved in drug cartels in Mexico. The increase in female prisoners in Mexico due to their drug involvement mirrors that of the United States, with many of the same problems. See if any of this sounds familiar:
The number of women incarcerated [in Mexico] for federal crimes has grown by 400 percent since 2007, pushing the total female prison population past 10,000.
No one here seems to know what to make of the spike. Clearly, the rise can partly be attributed to the long reach of drug cartels, which have expanded into organized crime, and drawn in nearly everyone they can, including women.
Detained lieutenants for cartels have told the police that some act as lookouts. Other women work as drug mules, killers, or as “la gancha” (the hook), using their beauty to attract male kidnapping victims. At least one woman, Sandra Ávila Beltrán, became a major cartel leader, before her arrest in 2007 for trafficking and money laundering.
Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising. More women are working in every aspect of the economy, “including drug trafficking,” said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, an assistant professor of government at the University of Texas, Brownsville. Yet, because Mexico’s justice system is so opaque, incompetent and corrupt, it is nearly impossible to know which prisoners deserve their punishment. Human rights lawyers say this is especially true for women, who are often unwittingly used by men they love. Several women at the prison, for example, said they only realized after their arrests that the cars they were caught driving had been packed full of drugs by boyfriends or brothers.In both the U.S. and Mexico, more and more women are spending time in prison as the War on Drugs continues (check out FAMM's factsheet on women in prison in the U.S.). Mandatory minimum sentences are especially unjust in many of these "girlfriend cases," leaving judges powerless to fit sentences to the facts of the case and the woman's role and knowledge. You can read a few examples of such injustices here, here, and here.